The Insider

By John Liang
August 2, 2022 at 9:34 AM

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks has assigned the Air Force responsibility for acquiring a capability to defend the homeland against cruise missiles, setting the stage for a potential multibillion-dollar project and breaking a long-running bureaucratic logjam that in recent years had the Missile Defense Agency lobbying for the role.

Check out the story, available to all.

By Briana Reilly
August 1, 2022 at 3:24 PM

Garrett Yee has joined General Dynamics Information Technology as the vice president and general manager of the company's Army sector, executives announced today.

In his new role, Yee, a retired Army major general, will focus on “driving growth and innovation and meeting customer needs,” through specialized technology solutions and services that range from artificial intelligence and cybersecurity to 5G and high-performance computing, GDIT said in a press release.

The move comes in the months after Yee retired from his post as assistant to the Defense Information Systems Agency director following a 35-year military career that included a stint as the military deputy and chief information security officer for the Army CIO/G-6, then a dual role that has since been split into two.

Yee’s retirement ceremony was April 28.

By Tony Bertuca
August 1, 2022 at 2:50 PM

The United States will be transferring $550 million in artillery ammunition to help Ukraine fend off an ongoing Russian invasion, including additional rounds for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, according to a Defense Department statement released today.

The transfer, which includes 75,000 rounds of 155 mm ammunition, will come directly from U.S. stocks and will be the 17th such “drawdown” ordered by President Biden since August 2021.

Last month, the United States announced it has transferred a total of 16 HIMARS to the Ukrainian military to help defend the eastern region of the country from Russian military advancements.

“In total, the United States has committed approximately $8.8 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden administration,” DOD said. “Since 2014, the United States has committed more than $10 billion in security assistance to Ukraine.”

By John Liang
August 1, 2022 at 1:25 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Missile Defense Agency's Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, the Guam air defense project, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and more.

The Pentagon has awarded a multibillion-dollar missile defense contract to Northrop Grumman:

MDA competition for GMD futures fails to draw more than single bid, $3.2 billion for Northrop

The Missile Defense Agency, after nearly four years of market research and analysis on how best to inject competition into the nearly billion-dollar-a-year effort to sustain, maintain and improve the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, managed to draw only a single proposal for a major new GMD Futures contract -- handing Northrop Grumman a $3.2 billion prize.

More missile defense news:

Senate panel cuts Guam project by nearly 10%, directs DEPSECDEF-led accounting

Senate appropriators want to dock $80 million from the high-priority Guam air defense project in fiscal year 2023 because the Pentagon has failed to account for its plans for the new project -- specifically the architecture -- in accordance with congressional directives issued a year ago.

Coverage of the leadership change in the office that oversees the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program:

Following norm-breaking PEO selection, JPO AQ precedent intact

Although the F-35 Joint Program Office has broken norms in its selection of a new director, officials are still adhering to a key precedent when it comes to acquisition oversight of the Defense Department's largest procurement effort.

The Senate Appropriations Committee, in its fiscal year 2023 spending bill approved last week, wants to plus up Air Force and Space Force procurement:

Senate appropriators seek to raise Air Force procurement; boost procurement and RDT&E for space

Senate appropriators would increase procurement for the Air Force and raise both procurement and research, development, test and evaluation funds for the Space Force in their version of the fiscal year 2023 defense spending bill.

Pentagon officials have sought to ensure the U.S. military has a current and classified network in place to protect data in light of the war in Ukraine:

DISA extends Thunderdome prototype to include classified network

The Defense Information Systems Agency is lengthening its Thunderdome zero-trust environment program timeline by six months and expanding it to include a classified network prototype, according to officials.

During a recent quarterly earnings call, Textron CEO Scott Donnelly spoke about the Army's Black Hawk helicopter replacement effort:

FLRAA delay will cut into Bell profits, CEO says

The Army's multimonth delay in announcing the winner of the competition to replace the Black Hawk helicopter will result in a decrease in annual profits for Bell, according to its parent company's CEO.

By John Liang
August 1, 2022 at 5:00 AM

Senior military officials speak at a variety of conferences this week.

Wednesday

The Association of the U.S. Army holds a Coffee Series day with Army Reserve Command chief Lt. Gen. Jody Daniels.

The Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Exchange 2022 takes place in person and virtually in Honolulu, HI through Friday.

Thursday

National Reconnaissance Office Director Christopher Scolese speaks at a Mitchell Institute Spacepower Forum event.

By John Liang
July 29, 2022 at 2:45 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Senate Appropriations Committee's defense spending bill and more.

The Senate Appropriations Committee this week marked up its version of the fiscal year 2023 defense spending bill:

Senate appropriators float $792 billion FY-23 defense budget

Senate appropriators today released their $792.1 billion fiscal year 2023 defense spending bill, proposing a nearly $12 billion boost in procurement in a plan that represents a nearly 4% increase over the president's budget request.

Senate appropriators seek to raise Air Force procurement; boost procurement and RDT&E for space

Senate appropriators would increase procurement for the Air Force and raise both procurement and research, development, test and evaluation funds for the Space Force in their version of the fiscal year 2023 defense spending bill.

Senate appropriations bill would cut nearly all IVAS funding

The Senate Appropriations Committee is seeking to cut nearly all fiscal year 2023 procurement funding from the Army's new augmented reality headset, according to an explanatory statement accompanying the chairman's mark of the spending bill.

News on U.S. Cyber Command and Air Force networks:

CYBERCOM AQ team poised for expansion

U.S. Cyber Command's acquisition arm is preparing to bring on dozens of new hires in the coming years as officials await the receipt of enhanced budgeting authority in fiscal year 2024 amid quickening adversarial moves to exploit network vulnerabilities.

Air Force CIO lays out goals to work more closely with industry partners

The Air Force hopes to build tighter ties with companies to field needed software capabilities and updates more quickly, Air Force Chief Information Officer Lauren Knausenberger said Tuesday.

Plus the latest defense cyber news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

First CMMC voluntary assessment scheduled for August as DOD 'joint surveillance' program begins

The first official Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification assessment starts Aug. 22 under the Pentagon's "joint surveillance voluntary program," where a certified third-party assessment organization will conduct the examination and report results to the Defense Contract Management Agency for final approval.

NIST official: Timing on update to CUI series subject to stakeholder feedback

Plans to update the National Institute of Standards and Technology's controlled unclassified information publications will depend on input gathered in a current pre-call for comments due in September, according to 800-171 series leader Victoria Pillitteri, who spoke at a July 27 summit focused on the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model certification program.

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) this week put a pause on the Senate Armed Services Committee's ability to move forward with the nominations of Radha Plumb and Laura Taylor-Kale, tapped to be deputy under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment and assistant secretary of defense for industrial base policy, respectively:

Senator announces hold on DOD nominees for industrial policy, deputy AQ chiefs

Two of President Biden's picks for key Defense Department posts -- deputy acquisition chief and the newly created industrial policy head -- are facing a roadblock in their path for Senate approval after one lawmaker today warned he would be placing a hold on their nominations.

Gen. Stephen Townsend, who has led U.S. Africa Command for three years, spoke during a virtual event this week:

Outgoing AFRICOM chief warns of rising extremist threat

The outgoing commander of U.S forces in Africa on Thursday said the U.S. faces a growing threat from violent extremism on the continent, although he believes the force has the funds necessary to counter it.

The Senate Armed Services Committee, in its mark of the fiscal year 2023 defense policy bill, includes a provision urging the defense secretary to encourage the Air Force to transfer the RQ-4 Block 30 aircraft slated for divestiture to the Test Resource Management Center:

DOD testers acquire additional retired Global Hawks to support hypersonic weapon testing

The Defense Department is poised this month to significantly expand its fledgling fleet of high-altitude, long-endurance aircraft dedicated to monitor U.S. hypersonic flight tests, a development intended to support plans for an increased pace of assessments as well as opening new corridors for regular testing off the East Coast into the Atlantic Ocean.

The House-passed version of the fiscal year 2023 defense policy bill proposes a provision that would require the Pentagon to hire a federally funded research and development center to execute a study and deliver findings on the domestic, precision-munition industrial base within six months of enactment:

Eyeing Ukraine's war, lawmakers seek assessment on precision-munition surge options

Lawmakers want an independent assessment of the domestic, precision-munition industrial base, particularly any gap limitations on the Pentagon's capacity to replenish nearly two-dozen "critical" weapon systems in the event of a fight against Russia or China that extends more than six months.

By John Liang
July 29, 2022 at 11:04 AM

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has named Abraham Denmark to serve as his senior adviser on the tripartite alliance between the United States, Australia and United Kingdom, the Pentagon announced today.

According to a statement from acting Pentagon Press Secretary Todd Breasseale, Denmark "will advise the secretary and coordinate efforts across the department to move rapidly in delivering on the promise of this historic partnership to help Australia establish a conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarine capability and to accelerate development of advanced capabilities to serve security and stability in the Indo-Pacific."

Denmark is currently vice president of programs at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC, and from 2015 to 2017 served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, according to Breasseale's statement.

"In his new role he will help move forward one of America’s most important partnerships in the Indo-Pacific," Breasseale said.

James Miller will continue to serve as the U.S. coordinator for AUKUS at the National Security Council, according to the statement.

In April, the White House announced that the three countries had expanded the scope of efforts under the trilateral agreement to include hypersonic and electronic warfare capabilities.

Additionally, earlier this month, Australia's defense minister said he is hoping to use the pact to build a foundation of "seamless" industrial bases between the three countries as they look to leverage a host of emerging technologies and capabilities.

By Briana Reilly
July 29, 2022 at 9:01 AM

Booz Allen Hamilton's defense business will see a new leader in the coming months, executives announced during the company’s earnings call today.

Karen Dahut, who’s served as president of the global defense sector over the last five years and has spent two decades at Booz Allen, including a stint as chief innovation officer, will retire effective Oct. 31, President and CEO Horacio Rozanski told analysts this morning.

Poised to succeed her is Judith Dotson, an executive vice president and head of the company’s national security sector. Dotson has spent more than 30 years at Booz Allen.

Replacing her will be Tom Pfeifer, currently an executive vice president who has expertise in position, navigation and timing technology and GPS.

By Michael Marrow
July 28, 2022 at 11:26 AM

Northrop Grumman is poised to compete for the Air Force's secretive Next Generation Air Dominance system, CEO Kathy Warden said today during the company's second quarter earnings call.

In response to a question about Northrop Grumman’s approach to NGAD, Warden said the company has gleaned valuable insights from its work on the B-21 Raider, initial delivery of which is scheduled for the end of this year.

“As we think about sixth-generation aircraft, we are in the process of building the first of those, the B-21, and that’s given us some fantastic experience and lessons that we believe we can apply to other sixth-generation aircraft,” Warden said.

“So, we’re positioned as a competitor,” she continued, referring to NGAD. “I think our government desires to have as broad [an] industrial base able to prime these large opportunities as possible, and we have been clear that we are investing and building our own capabilities and capacities to be able to be a contender.”

Speculation about prospective competitors for NGAD heightened after Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall stated the program entered the engineering and manufacturing development phase at a Heritage Foundation event last month. Contractors have so far been mum about their participation in the program.

The Air Force has offered few details about NGAD, except that it will include a “family of systems” approach that will incorporate crewed and uncrewed platforms and could require a new approach to acquisitions. Kendall has previously stated the platform will likely cost hundreds of millions of dollars per unit.

At the Heritage Foundation event, Kendall said the program is expected to field a new capability by the end of the decade.

By Michael Marrow
July 28, 2022 at 10:41 AM

President Biden has nominated Lt. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman to succeed Gen. John Raymond as chief of space operations, according to a list of nominees submitted to the Senate yesterday.

A former Minuteman III launch officer and satellite operator at the National Reconnaissance Office, Saltzman currently serves as deputy chief of space operations for operations, cyber and nuclear for the Space Force.

Saltzman’s appointment is prompted by Raymond’s planned retirement in the fall. As the first space operations chief who was selected to lead the organization in December 2019, Raymond has overseen the task of standing up a new service whose rapid expansion has often drawn congressional scrutiny.

If confirmed, Saltzman will take the reins of the new service as its consolidation of space responsibilities continues. In October, the Space Development Agency is slated to fully transition into the Space Force.

The Senate Armed Services Committee will take up Saltzman’s confirmation at a future date.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
July 27, 2022 at 4:20 PM

The U.S. Army's multibillion-dollar light tank program and expected growth in European defense spending should begin to lift revenues in General Dynamics' combat vehicle segment around 2024, according to a company executive.

“By 2024 and beyond, we ought to see a nice uptick trajectory in combat systems,” Jason Aiken, the company’s chief financial officer, said today on a quarterly earnings call. “We’re still talking low- to mid-single-digit growth, but we ought to see an inflection point.”

Until then, the combat vehicles division will focus on improving margins, he said.

General Dynamics won the competition last month to produce the Mobile Protected Firepower, the Army’s first light tank in decades. That program is expected to be worth up to $6 billion. Initial deliveries and testing are scheduled for 2024, after which production volumes could increase.

European opportunities extend beyond the sale of 250 Abrams tanks to Poland that was approved in February, Aiken said. Combat vehicle spending must make its way through governments, and that can happen slowly.

“It just takes time for interest to turn into budgets, to turn into appropriations, to turn into contracts, to turn into revenue,” he said. “The demand signals are there. We are having regular dialogue and ongoing conversation with those customers about that interest.”

General Dynamics reported $9.2 billion in revenue for the quarter that ended July 3, a decline of 0.3% from the same period a year earlier. Net earnings were $766 million, up 3.9%.

The combat systems segment, which builds combat vehicles, had $1.7 billion in revenue, down 12.3% from last year. Segment operating earnings fell 7.9%, to $245 million.

The marine systems segment, which builds Navy submarines and destroyers, made $2.7 billion in revenue, up 4.5% from a year earlier. Operating earnings for the segment were $211 million, up 0.5%.

By John Liang
July 27, 2022 at 2:10 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Army acquisition, Boeing's quarterly earnings and more.

Army acquisition chief Doug Bush spoke to reporters today about plans to replace the cannons it has sent to Ukraine:

Army has plan to replace howitzers sent to Ukraine

The Army has made an internal decision about how it will replace the 155 mm towed howitzers that have been sent to Ukraine, and it might include purchasing a different system, according to Doug Bush, the service's acquisition executive.

Bush also talked about the service's overall acquisition pathways:

Bush: Alternate acquisition pathways have been key enabler of modernization successes

The Army's top acquisition official on Wednesday said acquiring programs at speed was his top priority, a goal that has been helped along in part by the service's use of alternative acquisition pathways that it will continue to use.

Senior Boeing executives briefed Wall Street analysts this morning about the company's quarterly earnings:

Boeing logs further losses for fixed-price defense contracts

Boeing suffered further losses on several fixed-price defense contracts, with the largest charge for the company stemming from deliveries of the MQ-25 Stingray air refueling drone, the company announced in its second-quarter earnings call today.

Our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity have the latest on the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program:

CMMC accreditation body releases assessment process guide for public review ahead of formal rulemaking

The accreditation body behind the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program has released the first "pre-decisional draft" of its CMMC assessment process guide, known as "the CAP," for public review and comment, going into detail on how organizations can obtain a certification from the planning phase to reporting results and addressing gaps.

The Senate Armed Services Committee, in its mark of the FY-23 defense policy bill, has added $50.8 million for a Cruise Missile Defense-Homeland Kill Chain Demonstration:

NORAD bid for FY-23 cruise missile defense demo finds support in Senate

A Senate panel has endorsed a proposed live-fire demonstration to explore a cruise missile defense architecture to protect high-priority domestic assets, authorizing $50 million in the Missile Defense Agency's fiscal year 2023 budget in support of North American Aerospace and Defense Command.

By Briana Reilly
July 27, 2022 at 1:27 PM

Senators signed off on a compromise version of a bipartisan plan today to boost funding of domestic microelectronics production, legislation that a top Pentagon official had previously said was key to addressing semiconductor supply issues.

The 64-33 vote on the highly anticipated language signals a near-end to the framework’s drawn-out path to becoming law, with the House poised to take up the measure as soon as this week.

Included as an amendment to a separate appropriations bill, the so-called “Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America” or “CHIPS-plus” proposal includes tens of billions of dollars to encourage facility and equipment investments, incentives for semiconductor manufacturing such as a four-year, 25% tax credit and $2 billion specifically for Defense Department microelectronics purposes.

The bill has trailed behind the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act that created chips manufacturing and research programs that have gone unfunded. Though the Senate first passed its version of a semiconductor funding plan last June, the House didn’t follow suit with its own plan until February. Senators then approved the House’s version in March, setting up the legislation for conference committee negotiations and the slimmed-down package that hit the floor this week.

The current package resembles the broader legislation the Senate originally passed last summer, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who offered the amendment, said Tuesday. Calling the language “one of the most consequential bipartisan achievements of this Congress,” Schumer, who referred to the proposal as the “Chips and Science” bill, added the approach would reverse the “chip crisis and America’s dwindling commitment to science and innovation.”

The Senate had already signaled last week the latest iteration of the legislation had requisite support to pass the chamber, when lawmakers voted 64-34 to move forward on the package. While lawmakers initially planned a cloture vote on the package Monday night, the timeline was pushed to early Tuesday due to area thunderstorms that disrupted members’ travel plans.

Pentagon officials have repeatedly touted the importance of onshoring microelectronics processing. With the microelectronics supply chain centralized in the Asia-Pacific region, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks last month said DOD and other agencies “would be substantially advantaged by such a move.”

“DOD has to be a fast follower in this area,” she said. “We don’t acquire enough chips given the vast amount of chips that are purchased in the United States to really drive that industry. What we need and what that [bill] would help us get is a national security approach, an enclave approach, that helps us go after the kinds of higher-end capabilities that we need with a secure, assured supply chain.”

The Pentagon’s fiscal year 2023 budget request includes $3.3 billion for microelectronics technologies -- investments that Hicks has said will focus on developing “the kinds of more high-processing and specialized chips that we need uniquely.”

There are a number of DOD applications, such as strategic radiation-hardened microelectronics, that have specific military uses and aren’t viable for commercial investment, according to one expert who spoke with the Government Accountability Office for a newly released report covering policy pathways to reduce supply chain risks and stave off future shortages.

“The official stated that it is critical that DOD invest in microelectronics [research and development] to maintain technical superiority of weapons systems,” GAO’s review stated.

Hicks was among the officials and industry executives who participated in a meeting with President Biden this week on the importance of the CHIPS legislation’s passage, during which she highlighted the “dependency that we have on the defense side” on microelectronics access, ranging from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to emerging technologies such as quantum, hypersonics, 5G and more.

By John Liang
July 26, 2022 at 3:59 PM

The Senate Armed Services Committee today announced it has voted to promote to general and confirm Army Lt. Gen. Bryan Fenton to take charge of U.S. Special Operations Command and Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Michael Langley to lead U.S. Africa Command.

The confirmations were approved "by voice en bloc," along with 12 other promotions, according to a committee statement.

The full Senate will now consider the nominations.

By John Liang
July 26, 2022 at 2:52 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on cruise missile defense, the Joint Strike Fighter's engine and more.

The Senate Armed Services Committee, in its mark of the FY-23 defense policy bill, added $50.8 million for a Cruise Missile Defense-Homeland Kill Chain Demonstration:

NORAD bid for FY-23 cruise missile defense demo finds support in Senate

A Senate panel has endorsed a proposed live-fire demonstration to explore a cruise missile defense architecture to protect high-priority domestic assets, authorizing $50 million in the Missile Defense Agency's fiscal year 2023 budget in support of North American Aerospace and Defense Command.

The committee also recommends a provision that could inform deliberations about whether to triple the size of the Next Generation Interceptor acquisition:

Draft legislation would require funding plan for 64 Next Generation Interceptor fleet

The Pentagon would be required to draft a plan to pay for a fleet-wide replacement of the homeland defense ballistic missile inventory, according to legislation proposed by a Senate panel that would identify the price tag associated with expanding the program of record for the Next Generation Interceptor beyond 20 guided missiles to a total of 64.

The Air Force's top civilian spoke this week about the engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter:

Kendall: Air Force F-35 engine modernization decision planned for FY-24 budget

The Air Force plans to decide whether to field a new engine for the service's F-35 fleet or upgrade the aircraft's existing propulsion system by the time it files its fiscal year 2024 budget request, according to service Secretary Frank Kendall.

On-orbit servicing of the Global Positioning System has begun:

Lockheed Martin begins GPS on-orbit servicing

After winning a 10-year, $581.6 million Global Positioning System on-orbit servicing contract in June, Lockheed Martin was recently awarded $147.7 million by Space Systems Command for the first five-year period of performance, according to an SSC press release.

Lt. Gen. Kevin Kennedy, the new head of the 16th Air Force, spoke to the media recently:

New 16th Air Force commander sees collaboration as key in fight against cyberattacks

The new commander of the 16th Air Force, Lt. Gen. Kevin Kennedy, said collaboration and partnerships across the service, joint forces and with industry will be key focuses of his tenure.